Taiwan might be barred from attending the World Health Assembly (WHA) this month and sharing there about the methods it used to successfully battle the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
According to a Johns Hopkins University study in January, Taiwan was expected to be the second most at-risk area outside mainland China for the virus. However, it turned out that Taiwan had one of the most effective responses globally.
Taiwan, which is not a member of the United Nations, has been excluded from the World Health Organization (WHO), a U.N. agency, due to objections from China. The island has not been allowed to take part in the WHA, the decision-making body of WHO, since 2016.
The leaders of U.S. congressional foreign affairs committees wrote a letter to 55 countries on May 8 to support Taiwan’s WHA bid. The lawmakers stated in their letter that as the world fights the pandemic, it is more important than ever to put global health above politics.
Chen Shih-chung, Taiwan minister of health and welfare, said in a press release: “WHO will truly understand that infectious diseases know no borders, and that no country should be excluded, lest it become a major gap in global health security. WHO should not neglect the contribution to global health security of any nation.”
Taiwan implemented aggressive border quarantine measures to control the epidemic and also increased laboratory testing capacity by a tiered hospital system. In the meantime, Taiwan still has a functioning economy, with the first quarter GDP expanding 1.54 percent over the same period last year.
Taiwan’s battle with the CCP virus began on Dec. 31 last year, when a Taiwan public health official saw that people were chatting on a website forum about a novel pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan. Taiwan immediately implemented onboard quarantine of direct flights from Wuhan that same day.
Taiwan Centers for Disease Control also sent an email to WHO about the outbreak the same day, warning about the possibility of human-to-human transmission. Taiwan experts went to Wuhan in January to conduct a field study, and they concluded that there was transmission between humans.
During the pandemic, Taiwan has ramped up the mask production daily capacity from 1.8 million in January to around 19 million in mid-May. The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in San Francisco donated 100,000 masks to California in mid-April.
“Since Taiwan has been dealing with the CCP for such a long time and was cheated many times, Taiwan has deeply learned how the CCP is not trustable. So Taiwan would not follow outbreak information from the CCP or WHO’s numbers,” Twu Shiing-jer, who was the head of Taiwan public health in 2003 when the SARS outbreak spread from China to Taiwan, told the Taiwanese edition of The Epoch Times.
“The CCP hid SARS for three months and caused the virus to spread to Taiwan at that time. That made Taiwan strongly experience the result of being deceived by the CCP,” said Twu. “We are very clear about the CCP’s nature of deception.”
Taiwan’s death toll from SARS was 73 in 2003. As of May 4 this year, Taiwan’s death toll from COVID-19 was 6.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of WHO, said on Jan. 23 that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 outside China. Tedros also denied on April 10 that Taiwan ever alerted WHO to the possibility of human-to-human transmission.
From 1997 to 2008, Taiwan applied for observer status in WHO every year but failed due to China’s objections. In 2009, Taiwan finally gained observer status and was allowed to participate in the WHA, but it lost this status again in 2017 when Tedros became the director general.
Before becoming the head of WHO, Tedros was the health minister and then foreign minister of Ethiopia. He was a member of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), in which the Marxist-Leninist League of Tigray (MLLT) held a leading role in the 1980s.
A McKinsey report in 2017 stated that Ethiopia had participated in China’s Belt and Road initiative and was one of China’s most robust partners in Africa.